March 7 – 13, 2010 | FREE
Volume 79 Number 19
March Primary wrap-up
ONE ON ONE WITH HISD SUPT. Dr.
By ReShonda Tate Billingsley DEFENDER
It was a night for incumbents as several politicians won the quest to keep their seats in the March 2, 2010 Primary. Many had expected that Texas Gov. Rick Perry would be in for a dog fight against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Sheila But Perry, who Jackson Lee tapped into the anti-Washington ire, easily coasted to victory with 51 percent of the vote to Hutchison’s 30 percent. He managed
By Aswad Walker DEFENDER
ith a reputation as a reformer and innovator preceding him, new HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier, comes to Houston with a litany of awards and accolades for the job he did improving school districts in North Carolina and most recently, San Diego. Yet, the changes Grier has proposed to business-as-usual at HISD have come under fire from some teachers. Still, as was evidenced by his recent State of the Schools Address, Grier is intent on instituting whatever changes he believes will guarantee that all students in HISD are equipped with a great teacher in their classroom, a student-focused principal, and the support systems necessary to transform HISD into not only the nation’s best urban school district, but the best of all the nation’s school districts. The Defender recently spoke with Grier about his agenda. Defender: With all the success you’ve had in San Diego why take on Houston?
★PRIMARY, Page 9
Stimulus fails to help Blacks?
★GRIER, Page 4
Haiti rebounds despite rainy season By Herb Boyd NNPA SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Photo: Richard Muhammad/The Final Call
Haitian workers continue to press for normalcy as the people prepare for the rainy season.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Hurricane-ravagedPort-auPrince continues to rebound even as the rainy season earnestly approaches the Island of Haiti. This week, U. S. officials are scurrying to deliver portable toilets, hurricane-resistant tents, and plastic tarps, which Haitian Tourism Minister Patrick Delatour has said he prefers for the coming torrential rains, possible hurricanes and mudslides. Already, eight people were killed over the weekend in flooding after a downpour - and the rainy season has not fully started in earnest. Weather is key in Haiti right now as the rainy season is set to start in early April and last for several months. The forecast for this week fluctuated between sunny to partly cloudy; then more downpours at the end of this week. Temperatures are fluctuating between the mid 70s at night and into the 90 during the day hours. Racing the rains, former President Bill Clinton, the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti, recently convened a telecon★HAITI, Page 9
Wesley’s Snipes Finest! Born in Orlando on July 31, 1962 to Marian, a teacher’s aide, and Wesley, Sr., and an aircraft engineer, Wesley Trent Snipes was raised in the South Bronx, although the family moved back to Florida before he was able to graduate from NYC’s famed, Fiorello La Guardia High School of Music and Art. Still, Wesley went on to study drama in college at SUNY Purchase’s prestigious acting conservatory. However, he dropped out during his junior year to pursue his passion professionally. In Hollywood, the versatile thespian’s stage and Shotokan karate training came in handy in helping him land a variety of roles. The accomplished actor/black belt’s long list of credits on his enviable resume’ include the Blade Trilogy, Jungle Fever, White Men Can’t Jump, U.S. Marshals, Waiting to Exhale, Mo’ Better Blues, New Jack City, Murder at 1600, The Fan, Demolition Man, Passenger 57, To Wong Foo and The Art of War.
Wesley’s many accolades include a couple of NAACP Image Awards and making People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World List. And he and his second wife, artist Nikki Park, are raising their four children both in the U.S. and South Korea. Here, he talks about his latest film, Brooklyn’s Finest, a gritty, NYC crime saga, directed by Antoine Fuqua, which co-stars Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Ellen Barkin, Lela Rochon, Will Patton and Vincent D’Onofrio. Kam Williams: Hey, Wesley, thanks for the time. We met last year in New York when you were receiving an award at the Jacob Javits Center. Wesley Snipes: Oh yes, wonderful. KW: Laz Lyles asks, what drew you to Brooklyn’s Finest’s script, especially with the screenwriter ★SNIPES, Page 3
Click on Defendernetwork.com Weekend
Joseph C. Phillips
Saving the Religious Left
Businesses can save by using VOIP service
Who Broke the Government?
By Hazel Trice Edney NNPA EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
WASHINGTON (NNPA) - A little more than a year ago, Feb. 17, 2009, newly inaugurated President Barack Obama took his first corrective action to quell the escalating economic crisis. That action was to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), known as the stimulus bill, a $787 billion package to create and preserve jobs and spur economic growth. But, one year later, a non-partisan study by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University has found that despite the President’s noble efforts, the economic stimulus has not only failed to boost the economy for African-Americans and other historically disadvantaged people, including women, but it has produced starkly disparate results between white workers and people of color and ★STIMULUS, Page 4
MARCH 7 – 13, 2010 | DEFENDER
MARCH 7 – 13, 2010 | DEFENDER
continued from page 1 [Michael C. Martin] being a firsttimer? WS: Well, it wasn’t as much the script, as it was working with this cast and with Antoine Fuqua. So, I’d have to say that the idea of working with them motivated me more so than the script. KW: Why so? WS: I wanted to work with the ensemble of great actors that Antoine Fuqua had assembled. He and I had talked about doing a film together maybe about three or for years prior to actually working on this one. We were trying to find the right project. He was working on other things. I was working on other things, and was out of the country. Then there was a window if opportunity, and he said, “Wes, I want you to play this.” I had some reservations, because of that Nino Brown reference [the character he played in New Jack City]. But he basically explained to me, “that’s part of the reason I want you to do this. The characters have some overtones of that old Nino’s type of lifestyle.” When he told me that Don [Cheadle] would be playing the other character, and who else would be in the cast, I was like, “Well, let’s do this!” [Chuckles] KW: Richard Gere… Ethan Hawke… Ellen Barkin... WS: It’s always great when you can work with an ensemble of very, very talented people. And Ellen and I had worked on The Fan together. KW: Don’t you sometimes have a clash of egos, when you have so many stars on the same set? WS: I didn’t experience that. I actually love the ensemble environment. That’s what I come from, the so called “bus and truck” repertory theater. So, you put me in with a group of artists, and it’s like a breakdance battle. “Let’s go!”
Wesley Snipes and Don Cheadle star in “Brooklyn’s Finest,” in theaters March 5th. KW: I know that your family moved back to Florida while you were attending a prestigious acting academy in NYC. How did you prevent that disruption from spoiling your dreams? WS: After I finished high school, the first chance I got, I caught a Greyhound bus back to New York where I ended up being accepted to a program in drama at the State University at Purchase. KW: Children’s book author Irene Smalls says that from The Waterdance to Blade you have handled many different roles. She wants to know which one is your all-time favorite? WS: That is. KW: Jimmy Bayan asks where in L.A. do you live? WS: [LOL] What, does he want to come over for dinner? I’m a
universal man, but tell Jimmy I’m back and forth between the East and West Coasts a lot. KW: Documentary director Hisani Dubose is interested in knowing how you positioned yourself to play Blade, the first highimpact, black superhero. She said she knows that your company, Amen-Ra, co-produced it, but it still must have been a major task. WS: It was challenging. It was one of our firsts, and it was early on in the game. I had an inkling that it was something that hadn’t been done before, and some of my management at the time didn’t approve of the idea. They actually told me I shouldn’t do it. But I reflected on the fact that we had never seen a film like that before, not just a black superhero, but a black, vampire superhero who
fights martial arts. I thought, “We gotta try this, even if just for the fellas around the way.” KW: Larry Greenberg, says, after I receive my black belt in Kempo, I am considering looking at another martial art form. Which one would you recommend? WS: Shu-to Kwon Do. [Laughs] No, that’s a joke. I would recommend, Yoga. KW: Yale Grad Tommy Russell asks: “Do you think Obama will be able to resuscitate the healthcare reform bill?” WS: Resuscitate it? Doesn’t something have to be alive first to resuscitate it? KW: Tony Noel asks, as a martial artist, who do you see as the next generation of martial arts actors coming into prominence? WS: That’s a difficult question.
It’s hard to tell because a lot of martial artists aren’t strong actors, and a lot of actors aren’t strong martial artists. But we hope to be able to produce some of them through our company in the near future. KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would? WS: Nothing that comes to mind. KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid? WS: Yeah! KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy? WS: I am full and well. KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh? WS: [LOL] Yesterday. KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read? WS: ”From Fatigued to Fantastic” by Jacob Teitelbaum. KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What are you listening to on your iPod? WS: The Larry Levan Story, the whole series. KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see? WS: A beautiful expression of God having a wonderful human experience. KW: What is your favorite dish to cook? WS: Grits and eggs. [Chuckles] KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory? WS: [Whistles] Oh man… Playing with my babysitter’s toes. KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for? WS: Long-lasting health. KW: Thanks again, Wesley, and best of luck with Brooklyn’s Finest and all off your endeavors. WS: Thank you.
MARCH 7 – 13, 2010 | DEFENDER
HIGHLIGHTS: DR. TERRY GRIER
continued from page 1 Dr. Terry Grier: I was happy in San Diego, and the search committee from Houston called and originally I said I was not interested; that I had to continue the work we started (in San Diego). A few months went by and they called back again and said your name keeps coming up from different places as someone we should talk to. I said thanks, but no. I then started seeing in different meetings people I knew from around the country who asked if I had looked at the Houston job. Then our teacher union elected three new board members to our five member board, and more and more the decisions that were being made were adult decisions; not decisions I personally felt had been made in the best interest of the children. I started reflecting on Houston and thinking about people I had known in my past; how much I respected Billy Reagan’s work; one of the country’s great educators, Rod Paige, and the work Rod had done here. I had known Kaye Stripling a little bit, and Abe Saavedra was well-respected. So I visited HISD’s website and read about the School Board’s core beliefs, values and goals. And I thought, whoa, this is all about students. So I decided to come, sit down and talk with the Board. The minute I sat down and started talking with them, every single board member, said things that resonated in me. And that’s how it started. Defender: You come to HISD with a reputation as a reformer and innovator? What are the most important areas in HISD in need of reform? Grier: Several. Our drop-out rate is too high and our graduation rate is too low. That is of particular significance if you are a child from an impoverished background. Our children of color in this district have a significantly higher dropout rate and lower graduation rate than our Anglo students and students not on free or reduced lunch. So it’s not only a racial divide; it’s a socio-economic divide. One of the things we have already done that I believe will pay dividends, is put a graduation coach and new computer lab in every high school. Also, students who have failed courses can go online and work until they demonstrate a mastery of skills at a certain level to get credit for that course. In San Diego last year, our students recovered over 4,500 courses that they had taken and failed—with a B average. It took them 76 days on average to recover verses them sitting there all 180 days. It gave students hope. Students could also work online at home, come in on the weekends, stay until 7pm, work during the summer, and make those credits up and graduate. Another focus… just last week we opened HISD’s first middle school for over-aged students— middle school students two to three years older than their counterparts. These are kids who have been held back for whatever reason. Our goal is to accelerate their learning with great teachers and a great principal.
continued from page 1 failed to correct long-standing racial disparities. “I know that a lot of the programs that were developed in the 1930s and 40s were developed in such a way that didn’t target people who were the most marginalized, such as AfricanAmericans, Latinos and other groups like Native-Americas. And I was concerned that unless we did that during this deep recession, you could actually end up with a set of programs that would not only not serve those communities well, but also push those communities further behind,” says John Powell, executive director of the Kirwan Institute, telling why the study was done. He compared the stimulus to those established during days of Jim Crow when racially disadvantaged groups were not even considered in economic initiatives. The report tells why his comparison is not extreme. “While overall unemployment has started to decline (and decline for white workers), Black workers may soon reach the 2010 unemployment rate, which was once projected to occur if a stimulus or recovery bill was not enacted,” the report states. “This suggests that many of the employment gains from American Recovery and are not reaching workers of color. The report continues, “White unemployment has started to decrease (from a peak of 9.4% in October 2009 to 8.7% in January 2010), while Black unemployment rates continues to rise (from 15.5% to 16.5% during the same time period). Latino unemployment rates have also decreased slightly but remain very high, decreasing
Background Education Dr. Grier earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Carolina University and his doctorate in education from Vanderbilt University. Awards ■ North Carolina Association of School Administrators and the North Carolina School Boards Association’s 2008 North Carolina Superintendent of the Year Award ■ American Association of School Administrators’ Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award in recognition of his exceptional contribution and commitment to diversify the field of public education with high-quality leaders ■ North Carolina Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Distinguished Educator Award ■ Congressional Black Caucus’s ET3 Tech Champion Award Accomplishments Supt. - Guilford County Schools (Greensboro, NC) ■ Cut dropout rates in half ■ More than doubled the college scholarships available to high school seniors ■ Tripled minority student enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) classes ■ Increased the high school graduation rate to 80 percent Supt.- San Diego Unified School District ■ Saw student test scores improve dramatically in a year when the district budget was cut by $200 million
These are seventh graders that we’re working with and hope that at the end of this semester and sessions in summer school they will be able to advance to the ninth grade and get them back on track to graduate. Those are two things that we’ve looked at, and there are many more. Defender: What are your other top priorities? Grier: We want to see our schools continue to be recognized by the Texas Department of Education as exemplary. That’s going to be really tough this year because we, for the first time in Texas, are having to count the Special Education students’ test scores into our calculations. Also, last year you could have a certain percentage of your students scoring at a particular level and you would be a recognized school. That bar has been raised by five points. So it’s going to be harder this year. Of course we always have goals of raising parental involvement and having safe schools. Defender: Speaking of safety, KTRK TV, Channel 13 did a report recently with an undercover reporter highlighting a lack of security at HISD schools. What is your response to that?
from 13.1% in October 2009 to 12.6% in January 2010. ” Among other disparities listed in the report: - One in five children were living in poverty in 2008, and poverty rates for children of color are climbing above 40 percent in some states; - While one in 10 workers are unemployed nationally, one in six Black workers and one in eight Latino workers are unemployed; - Nearly half of all subprime loans went to African-American and Latino borrowers, even though many qualified for prime loans; - African-American and Latino homeowners are expected to lose $164 – $213 billion in assets due to the housing crisis; - The percentage of children in poverty is likely to peak at 21 percent in 2010; - Neighborhoods and communities are also being reshaped by the detrimental impacts of the housing crisis and recession; The report, released late last month, comes just as President Obama – the nation’s first Black president - proposed 2011 budget seeks to boost programs aimed to improve the quality of life for African-Americans, according to the White House Office of Public Engagement. The Kirwan report comes as no surprise to African-Americans who are well aware of the economic pains experienced first-hand. Many have expressed disappointment in Obama’s lack of a targeted plan in the Black community; including civil rights leaders Ben Jealous of the NAACP, Al Sharpton of the National Network and Marc Morial of the National Urban League, who two weeks ago trudged through a snow storm to a White House meeting with President Obama
New HISD Superintendent of Schools Terry B. Grier read to students in Carrie Prince's kindergarten class at the School at St. George Place. ■ ■ ■ ■
Opened Southern California’s first virtual, online high school Increased the number of AP exams taken by minority high school students Passed a $2.1 billion school construction/renovation bond package with 69 percent voter approval Improved student performance on the California Standards Tests to an all-time district high with scores rising more in one year than in the three previous years combined
Grier: My response is “Thank you for bringing it to our attention when things are not as they should be,” and please know that we will take their findings seriously and work immediately to address them. It’s sad it took the media to bring it to our attention. Frankly, we should have been looking at those kinds of things ourselves. But we need to always be open to anyone who can point out to us things that are not as they should be. Defender: With reform often comes a backlash from those uncomfortable with change. How do you deal with that backlash when it comes from teachers and/or parents? Grier: Change is painful. Good communication is like novacaine when you’re at the dentist. You’ve got to have something to deaden the pain or its going to be a long day. With change, if you don’t communicate well both inside and outside the organization, then you’re going to have a long day. Communications has to be the key. We’re not doing a good enough job of that. We’ve got to step it up so parents understand what we’re doing and why. We want our parents to know that we are absolutely committed to having a good school for your child. I don’t think that
just to express what most American’s already know: That his “rising tide lifts all boats” theory about unemployment, expressed in a press conference, is apparently not working. Neither is it working for Black contractors and businesses, the Kirwan Report confirms. “Minority and disadvantaged business contracting is a critical source of job and wealth creation for marginalized groups and communities. Many concerns have been raised about the ability of minority firms to successfully compete for contracts,” states the report, titled, “ARRA and The Economic Crisis: One Year Later Has Stimulus Helped Communities in Crisis?” It continues, “Although consistent state level data on ARRA contracting to minority firms is not widely available, figures from federal procurement indicate troubling and disparate contracting patterns. While Black —, Latino —, and Women — owned businesses represent 5.2%, 6.8%, and 28.2% of all businesses respectively,12 as of February 1, 2010, they had only received 1.1%, 1.6%, and 2.4% of all federally contracted ARRA funds. Of the $45 billion in direct federal contracts allocated by February 1, 2010, less than $2.4 billion (5% of the total) were allocated to Black —, Latino —, and Women — owned businesses.” Black contractors have long complained that they were not getting their fair share of state and federal dollars. That complaint continued specifically about the economic stimulus dollars. Also, Black-owned newspapers point out how they’ve been consistently shorted in allocation of advertising dollars from federal agencies such as the U. S. Census
parents should have to bus their kids out of their neighborhoods to go across town to get what they perceive to be a better education. That has to change. There are always two sides to that. We’ll have parents that want us to hire a certain person as principal or teacher for their school. They may be great people, wonderful church goers and bedrocks in that community but may not have the skills that are important to being a good principal. I know we’ve got some key administrative positions open right now in HISD. I recommended to our interview committee several people that I’ve known in districts where I worked who I thought might fit well in those jobs. Guess what? They didn’t make the grade. So when we’re offering employment it’s not enough to know someone. Defender: Will you do here some of the things you’ve done elsewhere, like reduce class sizes and increase the number of AP courses taken by minority students? Grier: We’ve told all of our high schools they must offer at least 10 AP courses by next year and 15 two years from now. That’s going to be a requirement to increase academic rigor. I’m not interested in excuses. I’m not interested in you telling me the kids aren’t ready. What I am interested in is what you’re going to do to get them ready. Are you going to reach down to your colleagues in the middle schools? Are you going to have summer academic boot camps for these kids? Defender: How were you able to do more with less—improving test scores even with a drastically reduced education budget? Grier: We asked principals to focus on classroom instruction. I think the most important way to improve test scores is to make sure all students have a great teacher in the classroom. You’ve seen a lot of controversy lately about using test scores to evaluate teachers. I think we have to have ways to determine which teachers are doing a great job and which ones aren’t. The ones that are struggling, we need to provide training for. But if they will not or cannot improve they have to go. They cannot continue to work in education. You and I both know that the majority of those teachers teach in poorer neighborhoods. All of our children deserve quality teachers. Defender: Any other words you’d like to share? Grier: Some of our efforts have fallen short for our students, and that just cannot continue. Particularly in Fifth Ward we have an investigation going on at Key Middle School and Kashmere, and that’s been painful. Some of our findings are not good. I think when those findings come out some of our people in the community are going to be disappointed at some of the things that were going on there. But hopefully, they’re going to be supportive of our efforts to make sure they don’t happen again.
Bureau as well as private corporations that received stimulus money, including car dealerships. White House sources have conceded that the absence of tracking economic stimulus dollars has added to the problem of assuring fair dissemination. But, fair contracting laws, including Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race by federal government agencies — either intended or unintended. Powell, also one of the researchers, says that studying the fairness of the dissemination of the stimulus money was hindered because “the administration did not require the tracking of data based on either race nor gender & Here we’re spending almost a trillion dollars and they have all of these requirements for tracking information, but race and gender was left out. We felt that that’s a bad sign. So we decided that we would try to track it. ” Powell says the mistake that the White House has apparently made is to attempt to meet a universal goal with the same process. “The way you might have dealt with it is if you say, ‘We want to reduce unemployment in every community across the country.’ How you would do that in the Black community, how you would do that in the Native-American community, how you would do that in the rural community, the process is different. The goal is universal, but the process is different because the people are situated differently.” Powell says he does not buy the “We have to serve all Americans” excuse for not recognizing diversity. “For some people, the escalator is fine. Some people may need to take stairs. But, some people may need an elevator. And that’s not to say that the
people who use the elevator are getting any special [treatment]. They’re situated differently in relationship to structures. And that’s significant for African-Americans. Among the solutions suggested in the report: - Rather than scale back job tracking efforts, add measures which consider the quality and duration of employment, as well as the race, gender, and zip code of job recipients. - Unbundle large contracts for small businesses. Breaking up large projects will allow for more small business participation in the recovery. - Set and mandate specific, Minority Business Enterprise and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Goals for every department. - Use targeted reinvestment in hardhit areas, first source hiring, apprenticeship and job training. - Increase employment opportunities for ex-offenders. - Consider that the mandate to expend ARRA funds as quickly as possible, with special priority given to ‘shovel-ready’ projects and projects receiving private investment, may be giving short-shrift to civil rights compliance, particularly Title VI and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. - An equitable jobs bill is still required to stem the economic crisis facing marginalized communities. “The racial wealth gap in this country is stark and real,” says Anita Sinha of the Advancement Project, in an essay included in the report, “And to think that stimulus dollars may be lining the pockets of the usual suspects while passing over low-come people of color’s access to job training and placement opportunities is dismaying.”
MARCH 7 – 13, 2010 | DEFENDER
Jordan to Buy Bobcats Word out of Charlotte, N.C. is that Michael Jordan has reached an agreement to buy the Charlotte Bobcats from Bob Johnson, the former owner of BET. Jordan has been a minority owner since 2006, with final say on basketball decisions. His ownership group is MJ Basketball Holdings LLC. M.J.was in competition with former Houston Rockets executive George Postolos, who also had an ownership group together to buy the team. Johnson purchased the expansion tea,m which began competition in the 2004-2005 season, for $300 million. He became the first Black majority owner of a major professional sports team. Unfortunately, Johnson has lost money with the franchise from the very beginning. The team, in the hotbed for college basketball country, has struggled to draw fans and attract sponsorships. Reports are that Johnson has accumulated $150 million in team debt and will lose millions this season. Michael Jordan achieved unprecedented success as a player. He was a five-time NBA MVP and 14-time AllStar, winning six NBA championships. He has also excelled as a corporate pitch man, selling everything from athletic shoes and apparel, energy drinks and even underwear. Now he’ll begin a completely different role trying to make the Bobcats a winner, and the franchise and Charlotte’s downtown arena profitable. How successful will
Talkin’ Sports and Kickin’ it with Filmmaker
Spike Lee By Max Edison DEFENDER
e is quite simply one of the premiere filmmakers of this generation. Spike Lee, whose original films, powerful documentaries and memorable roles have entertained us for over thirty years, was in town recently as the keynote speaker for Houston Community College Black History Gala. As passionate as Lee is about the business of filmmaking, he is just as rabid about his love for sports. The movie He’s Got Game showcased his love for basketball. The documentaries, Jim Brown: All-American and the 2009 release of Kobe Doin Work are examples that once again indicate his love for sports. A love affair that Lee himself is quick to acknowledge. “I’m a filmmaker and most filmmakers do films on the stuff they love,” Lee explained. “I’m very fortunate, I love sports and I make films and sometimes I’m able to combine the two.” Not only has Spike Lee been an outstanding filmmaker, but he has also been an outspoken social activist, using his celebrity to advance the cause of any number of relevant social issues. Having worked with sports icons like Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown the inevitable question arises; why aren’t today’s high profile Black athletes (Tiger, Lebron, Kobe, etc.) doing more to advance “the cause”. “It’s just a different time. People like Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Jack Johnson, they did the stuff so athletes today would not have to go through those hardships,” Spike shared. “There’s no doubt we were second class citizens, but it’s a different time now. We have a Black president now. Just like it’s hard to compare athletes in different eras, I would say it’s just as difficult to compare the actions of today’s stars. “Many guys do stuff they don’t publicize,” Lee continued. “I know Michael Jordan does a ton of stuff, but he’s not doing it for publicity so you never hear about it.”
★EDISON, Page 6
★SPIKE LEE, Page 6
on H.S. Sports Somebody bailed out Chiney Ogwumike for a change. Cy-Fair’s senior post, the nation’s No. 1-ranked girls high school basketball player, had just missed two free throws in the final minute of the Region II-5A title game against Bryan that would have given her team a fourpoint advantage. Junior guard Cassie Peoples had her back this time. Cy-Fair coach Ann Roubique said Cassie wanted the ball in her hands because she knew that she could draw a foul. With eight seconds left in the biggest game of her career, Peoples connected on two free-throw attempts to provide the final margin (5450) and give the Lady Bobcats their fourth consecutive trip to the University Interscholastic League Class 5A state basketball tournament. Peoples finished with 10 points and four assists. When Cy-Fair defeated College Park in last season’s Region II Class 5A final at the Ferrell Center, Peoples was in a wheelchair nursing her newly broken leg. She missed the final three games of Cy-Fair’s season. This year, she was in the game, the ball was in her hands and the game was on the line. Ogwumike said she could ★ARDISON, Page 6
Hightower holds off Bellaire for ticket to State By Darrell K. Ardison DEFENDER
The scenario with the Bellaire girls coming back from doubledigit deficits in the 2010 playoffs had become all too familiar. Yet Hightower head coach Deborah Mize was in no mood for any repeats. Not a repeat of when Bellaire eliminated the Lady Hurricanes (55-37) from last year’s regional tournament. Certainly not a third consecutive impressive comeback in this year’s playoffs with Hightower victimized again. Wearing the favorite’s role in the Region III-5A Tournament at the Campbell Center, Hightower held off a furious Bellaire rally down the stretch and Brittany Matthew converted four clutch free throws in the waning moments to seal a 70-64 victory and earn a berth in the state basketball tournament in Austin. “I am never comfortable against a team that can shoot 3pointers like Bellaire,” Mize said. “The only time that I thought we had this game won was when Brittany hit those free throws at the end.” Hightower (34-2) will face San Antonio Jay in Friday’s late Class 5A semifinal (8:30 p.m.). Top-ranked Cy-Fair (34-1) plays Cedar Hill in the early game (3:30 p.m.). The Lady Hurricanes are making their first state tournament appearance since 2003. With a sizable height advan-
Hightower coach Deborah Mize and Fort Bend ISD AD Keith Kilgore
tage, Hightower led by as many as 13 points with the 6-foot-2 twin tandem of Tyler and Taylor Gilbert having their way around the basket. Tyler finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. Taylor tallied 15 points, 15 caroms and one blocked shot. Yet Bellaire had overcome large deficits in the prior two games against Clear Lake and
Alief Elsik to record playoff victories. Behind a brilliant 40-point performance from freshman point guard A.J. Alix, the Lady Cardinals were poised for another comeback. With a much shorter bench than his counterpart, Bellaire coach Michael Kramer began employing a full-court press that produced immediate results. Alix scored 17 third-quarter points
and the Lady Cardinals sliced their deficit to four points (5046) starting the fourth quarter. “Sometimes we have problems with the press because we’re not patient enough. We don’t see the floor because we’re concentrating on the defenders coming at us and we just panic,” said senior guard Jasmine Brewer, who ★HIGHTOWER, Page 6
MARCH 7 – 13, 2010 | DEFENDER
continued from page 5
Tyler and Taylor Gilbert, Hightower’s twin post tandem.
team advanced to the regional final for a second straight year continued from page 5 and looks for better things in made several key shots to the foreseeable future. keep the Cardinals at “We weren’t supposed to bay.“After we realized that we make it this far this year, but could dribble the ball up the we’ve got a great group of court and get the ball to our young ladies that just keep big girls, that’s what we did getting better and better,” he and that’s what worked for said. “We’re proud of what us,” Brewer said. they accomplished.” Brewer convertHightower ed two field goals advanced to the in an 8-0 spurt regional final by midway through d e f e a t i n g the fourth quarter Westside 55-48 in to give the Lady the semifinals. Hurricanes a 64“Westside had a 55 advantage. great defensive “A team goal for game plan for us us before the game and they executed was to get on the it really well,” glass the entire Mize said. “I didgame,” said Tyler n’t think we comHightower guard Gilbert. “If we peted as well as Jasmine Brewer didn’t do anything we’re capable of else we were and in the playoffs going to catch you have to be rebounds and make second- ready to perform.” chance shots. After defeating the likes of “We were confident coming state-ranked Wheatley, into the game. Bellaire Worthing and previously knocked us out of the regional unbeaten Yates in the playtournament last year and we offs, La Marque saw its knew we had to bring the “Cinderella” bid come to an intensity,” Gilbert said. end at the hands of regional “Coach Mize said that going favorite Del Valle. to the state tournament had The Cardinals (36-2) stalled been a dream since her first for the final four minutes, 20 year of coaching. We wanted seconds of the second quarter to make it happen for her.” and the score tied at 12 apiece. Bellaire (23-10) wasn’t In the second half Del Valle about to go out without a took advantage of the ballfight. handling skills of senior point Raven Burns and Bianca guard Joslinn Douglas (17 Winslow sandwiched baskets points) and poor shooting around two by Alix to pull the from the Lady Cougars (10Lady Cardinals within two of-42 from the field) to claim points (66-64) with 34 sec- the Region III-4A title with a onds remaining in regulation. 43-33 victory at the Campbell That’s when Matthew Center. swished the four biggest free La Marque trailed 22-18 throws of her life. going into the final eight min“We were hoping we would utes of the contest and pulled get to see Bellaire again,” within two points at the 4:46 Mize said. “I believe our play- mark, but could never inch ers felt like they had some- any closer. thing to prove against them.” It marked La Marque’s first With two freshmen and two appearance in the regional sophomores in his starting championship game. lineup, Kramer was happy his
Speaking of Michael Jordan, Nike, using a Spike Lee movie character, introduced the world to the Air Jordan line in a series of television commercials in the mid-80’s and the rest is advertising history! Many of today’s youth are more familiar with Lee’s character with Jordan than his countless hit movies. “My biggest regret is I wish I had taken stock and not the cash back then,” Spike recalled. The overwhelming success of the Air Jordan brand is a phenomenon that amazes Lee to this day. “It was all accident. When I played Mars Blackmon my character in She’s Gotta Have It, Mars loved the Air Jordans and I had no idea it would turn into something so big. The best thing about it is I have a great relationship with Michael Jordan, forget about the money, the best thing is that me and Michael are real good friends.” Spike Lee was born in Atlanta, but he grew up in New York. I first met him during the 1994 NBA Finals between the Knicks and the Rockets. We all know the Rockets won that series in 7 games and went on to repeat in 1995. You would think after 16 years Spike would be over the heartache of that series, but he isn’t and I wasn’t about to let him forget it! “We (Knicks) had won game 5 in New York, we were up 3-2 and we come back to Houston for game 6 and 7 and we lost two in a row. It was only a couple of years ago that Pat Riley finally admitted that he messed it up by not taking John Starks out of game
Spike Lee used one of his movie characters to introduce the world to Air Jordan back in the mid-80s. 6. We should have won that series.” With the trade of Tracy McGrady from the Rockets to New York, Lee, the life-long Knick fan, believes this could signal the beginning of the great New York Knick renaissance. “We’ve got Tracy McGrady and his $23 million contract comes off the cap at the end of this year,” Lee explains. “The Knicks will then have more cap space than any team in the league. We can get 2 max dollar players. We would be a force to be reckoned with then. We don’t have to spend all the money after this season though. The following season Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant will be free agents, so if we don’t get what we need this summer, we’ll get it next year.”
continued from page 5 Jordan be? No one knows for certain, but he must avoid the mistakes made by Johnson. “If he’s going to be an absentee owner, just like Bob was, it’s not going to work,” said Felix Sabates, a NASCAR team owner who also holds a minority stake in the Bobcats. “I think if Michael makes a commitment and shows dedication, he can be very successful. He’s a big icon in this part of the country.” Count Bobcat guard, Stephen Jackson in as a current player who endorses the new ownership change. “I think it’s great, an opportunity for me to continue to play for a guy who I’ve looked up to my whole career, the best to ever play the game,” Jackson said. “I think he’s going to get this team, the right guys on the court, and go in the right direction to be a consistent team in the playoffs.” Needless to say NBA commissioner David Stern is all smiles at having his Hall of Famer become an owner. “We have been anticipating an agreement for transfer of a majority interest in the Bobcats and are pleased it
continued from page 5 think back at all the times in the game when they could have lost it, but that Cassie made it happen with her two free throws. Although Ogwumike missed her last two free throws, her play in the second half proved large for the Lady Bobcats. The Stanford University signee had 12 points and seven
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS MENTAL HEALTH MENTAL RETARDATION AUTHORITY OF HARRIS COUNTY will be accepting Proposals for the following:
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS SOFTWARE Specifications may be secured from MHMRA of Harris County, Purchasing Department located at 7011 Southwest Freeway, Suite 100 in Houston, Texas 77074 and/or via MHMRA website www.mhmraharris.org beginning Tuesday, March 9, 2010. A PreProposal Conference is scheduled for Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 10:30 a.m., 7011 Southwest Freeway. Responses to Request for Proposal must be submitted to the Purchasing Department, Suite 100, 7011 Southwest Freeway, Houston,Texas 77074 by 10:00 a.m.,TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2010 in a sealed envelope marked "PROPOSAL DO NOT OPEN UNTIL – TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2010,“LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS SOFTWARE”. Any questions pertaining to this solicitation should be addressed in writing to Marguarette Washington, Senior Buyer via fax (713) 970-7682 or email to email@example.com cc: firstname.lastname@example.org. MHMRA reserves the rights to reject any and/or all proposals it deems to be in its best interests, to waive formalities and reasonable irregularities in submitted documents and is not obligated to accept the lowest proposal.
Advertise in the Defender
has occurred,” Stern said in a statement. “Bob Johnson brought the excitement of the NBA back to Charlotte and I am certain that as Michael Jordan returns to his home state as the principal owner of the Bobcats the team will continue its growth as a success on the court, as a business success and as a valued community asset.” Jordan has already hand picked the current Bobcat management hierarchy, with former teammate Rod Higgins as G.M. and former Tarheel player and championship coach, Larry Brown on the bench. “Everybody wanted to see him involved and I can’t imagine the NBA not having Michael Jordan involved,” Coach Brown said recently while watching the North Carolina-Wake Forest game. “He’s been great for us to work with, he lets us do our job and he’s the best.” Jordan has had lukewarm success on the management side of the coin. While running the Washington Wizards he drafted Kwame Brown number one overall in 2001. In 2006 he directed the Bobcats draft Adam Morrison with the third pick in the draft. Both players have been a pair of the biggest first round draft busts in recent history.
rebounds after intermission and finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Cy-Fair guards Danika Cervenka, Tara Warren and Aarika Reyna came up big in the first half when Ogwumike was being double- and triple-teamed by the Lady Vikings. It wasn’t an easy road through Region II for No. 1 state-ranked CyFair. The Lady Bobcats defeated the state’s No. 3-ranked school in the finals (Bryan) after disposing of the
CLASSIFIED RFP NO. 10-08
HOPE VI CONSULTING SERVICES FOR WILMINGTON HOUSE The Houston Housing Authority hereby solicits proposals from qualified professional consulting firms to provide services for the Development of a Hope VI Grant Application for Wilmington House as specified in RFP No. 10-08. Interested offerors may obtain the Request for Proposals package by contacting:
ANNA SIMOTAS PURCHASING OFFICER HOUSTON HOUSING AUTHORITY 2640 FOUNTAINVIEW, SUITE 408 HOUSTON,TEXAS 77057 (713) 260-0554 FAX: (713) 260-0556 The Request for Proposals will be available on the Internet at www.housingforhouston.com on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. The proposals must reach the Houston Housing Authority no later than 4:00 P.M. (CST) on March 23, 2010. Proposals received after the deadline will be rejected unless the conditions allowed for late submittals exist for consideration as specified in the RFP. A Fair Housing and Equal Employment Opportunity Agency. For assistance: Individuals with disabilities may contact the 504/ADA Administrator at 713-260-0528, TTY 713-260-0547 or 504_ADA@housingforhouston.com.
Lee’s current project is a sequel to his documentary, When the Levee’s Broke. While in Houston he plans to visit with survivors of Hurricane Katrina who evacuated from New Orleans and continue to reside in the Houston area. Of course with such a noble cause in front of him, he still found time to gloat over the recent success of New York sports. “I still love film and I’m still very passionate. I still love sports. I’m happy for New Orleans that they won the Super Bowl. The Yankees recently won their 27th World Championship. The Jets look promising with a rookie quarterback. We got to keep going every day. There’s still a lot of stories yet to be told.”
state’s No. 2 team (Dallas Skyline) in the regional semifinals. ETC. The Westbury Christian girls defeated Argyle Liberty Christian 7369 to win the TAPPS Class 4A state crown. The Westbury Christian boys won a second consecutive state championship with a 78-59 victory over Second Baptist in an all-Houston-area TAPPS 4A title game.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS The Houston Housing Authority hereby solicits proposals from contractors for the operation of the Child Care Centers as specified in RFP No. 1002, RFP No. 10-03, RFP No. 10-04 and RFP No. 10-05. RFP NO. 10-02, OPERATION OF OXFORD PLACE APARTMENTS CHILD CARE CENTER RFP NO. 10-03 OPERATION OF KELLY VILLAGE CHILD CARE CENTER RFP NO. 10-04 OPERATION OF LINCOLN PARK APARTMENTS CHILD CARE CENTER RFP NO. 10-05 OPERATION OF HISTORIC OAKS OF ALLEN PARKWAY VILLAGE CHILD CARE CENTER Interested offerors may obtain the Request for Proposals packages on Wednesday, March 3, 2010 by contacting:
ANNA SIMOTAS PURCHASING OFFICER HOUSTON HOUSING AUTHORITY 2640 FOUNTAINVIEW, SUITE 408 HOUSTON,TEXAS 77057 (713) 260-0554 FAX: (713) 260-0556 The Request for Proposals will be available on the Internet at www.housingforhouston.com on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. The proposals must reach the Houston Housing Authority no later than 4:00 P.M. (CST) on March 25, 2010. Proposals received after the deadline will be rejected unless the conditions allowed for late submittals exist for consideration as specified in the RFP. A Fair Housing and Equal Employment Opportunity Agency. For assistance: Individuals with disabilities may contact the 504/ADA Administrator at 713-260-0528, TTY 713-260-0547 or 504_ADA@housingforhouston.com.
MARCH 7 – 13, 2010 | DEFENDER
A Defender & Texas Children’s Hospital Alliance
Asthma triggers and management
Parents of children with asthma should create an asthma action plan with their child’s pediatrician.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes swelling and irritation of the airways. This makes the airwaves smaller so it is harder to breathe. Here are some symptoms of asthma: • Cough • Shortness of breath • Wheezing • Chest congestion Avoiding triggers helps improve asthma and reduces the need for medicine. Asthma triggers are things that cause asthma to flare up or get worse. Common triggers include: • Weather changes • Pollen • Dust or mold • Tobacco smoke • Strong odors • Viral infections • Pets • Exercise • Anxiety Everyone with asthma needs “quick relief” or “rescue” medicine to use when you have an asthma attack. The medicine allows
airways to open so you can breathe easier. Some people also need “controller” medicines to use daily to decrease inflammation in the airways to help prevent asthma attacks. An asthma action plan is a written guide to help keep you well and deal with asthma problems. You make this plan with your doctor. The plan may change as your asthma needs change. You should have a copy at home, school and with other caregivers. An asthma action plan includes: • A daily care plan to help keep you well and help meet your goals for asthma control. • A rescue plan to help you deal with increasing symptoms quickly. • A guide for asthma emergencies to help you know when to call the doctor and when you need emergency help.
Safeguard your children against the danger of strangers Children have a tough time understanding the concept of “strangers.” If they’ve seen someone at their school or in their neighborhood before, they may not think of that person as a stranger because they’ve seen them before. Also, if the person doesn’t look mean or scary, they may not seem like a dangerous person to a child. And remember to talk to older children and teenagers. They are at risk too. Here are some tips for parents and guardians to help safeguard children by teaching them what to do if they are approached by a stranger. • Know where your children are at all times and when they should be home. • Know who your children’s friends are, where they live and how to get in touch with them. • Never leave a small child alone at home or in the car, even for a few minutes. • Teach your children that dangerous people don’t necessarily look mean. They often smile and act friendly. Teach your children not to be tricked – be smart. • Strangers are not only people your children don’t know, but also people they don’t know very well. • Discuss with your children how to identify safe adults who they can go to when they are in danger – people like police and firemen. • Use role-playing and “what if” situations so children can practice what to do in different situations Teach children to never talk to, help, accept anything from or give information to people they don’t know very well.
Over-the-counter antihistamines are effective for easing the symptoms of allergies.
Parents should teach children to never talk to, help, accept anything from or give information to strangers. • Tell your children that if a person follows or grabs them, they should yell loudly. Teach them to shout, “I don’t know you” so people know they are in trouble. • Tell your children it is OK for them to fight back and make as much noise as they can to get help. • Make sure your child knows how to reach you in an emergency. Teach your children how and when to call 911.
Do over-the-counter cold medicines work? Colds are caused by viruses and are not cured by antibiotics. In fact, doctors are steering patients away from unnecessary antibiotic use since overuse leads to the development of bacteria resistant to the usual antibiotic treatments. Still, parents want to help relieve cold symptoms and to help their child be more comfortable, particularly at night. When rest, fluids and the humidifier don’t seem to bring enough relief, do over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicines work? “Most children are not helped significantly by OTC preparations, but if you
About Texas Children’s Hospital Texas Children’s Hospital is committed to a community of healthy children by providing the finest pediatric patient care, education and research. Renowned worldwide for its expertise and breakthrough developments in clinical care and research, Texas Children’s is ranked in the top ten best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. For more information on Texas Children’s Hospital, visit www.texaschildrens.org.
find one that is helpful for your child then it is safe to use,” said Dr. Carla Giannoni, otolaryngologist with Texas Children’s Hospital. Texas Children’s offers these tips for smart use of OTC cold and allergy medicines: Decongestants: Decongestants are most effective for the common cold if used for no more than two to three days to relieve symptoms. Decongestants should not be used in conjunction with antihista★COLD MEDICINES, Page 8
MARCH 7 – 13, 2010 | DEFENDER
Teach your family the importance of fire safety
mines. Common side effects of decongestants include hyperactivity or sleeplessness, so avoid giving your child these medicines just before bedtime. A common brand is Sudafed®. Antihistamines: Over-the-counter versions are very effective for easing the symptoms of true allergies such as hay fever, and are less expensive than prescription formulas. Antihistamines are best used when symptoms are seasonal or intermittent. Because antihistamines often cause sleepiness, these drugs may affect school performance or a teen’s ability to drive. A common brand is Benadryl®. Cough expectorants: Look for one that contains the drug guaifenesin only. Ask your doctor for the amount you should give your child to equal the dose found in prescription drugs. Be sure that your child drinks plenty of fluids while taking an expectorant or it won’t work. A common brand name is Robitussin®. Cough suppressants: Humidity and fluids are recommended to relieve a child’s cough rather than cough suppressants. Other suggestions for the use of OTC cold medicines include: Buy “plain” drugs. Don’t buy OTC drugs that contain multiple medicines that will work at cross-purposes. For instance, avoid expectorant/antihistamine and cough expectorant/cough suppressant combinations. Avoid double-dosing. Read labels so that you know whether an OTC drug contains acetaminophen. If the drug you’ve chosen already contains acetaminophen, you don’t need to give your child an additional dose for fever or aches. Do not give aspirin or other salicylates to children or teen-agers. Buy generic. Generic drugs are more likely to contain only one ingredient and include exactly the same dose of medicine as branded OTCs. Avoid misuse. Consult your pediatrician before giving any OTC drug to children under age 2. In addition, educate yourself about which OTC medicines currently are popular with teens looking to get high. Ephedrine or dextromethorphan are two such drugs. While OTCs cause few major side effects in children, timehonored home remedies such as hot water mixed with lemon and honey actually may be more effective. “Fluids actually work better than some OTC medicines since the doses are so low,” said Dr. George Mallory, associate professor of pediatric pulmonology at Baylor College of Medicine, the training institution for many of Texas Children’s physicians. “In addition, OTC medications can be expensive, and there’s growing evidence that immunity in childhood is built by exposure to mild illnesses like colds.” So, use OTC medications judiciously, then help your child get comfortable, stock up on some favorite (non-caffeinated) drinks, watch a video, read some stories and let the cold run its course.
Each year, nearly 700 children under 14 years old die in home fires. The majority of children are injured or die in homes without working smoke alarms. The leading causes of fires are playing with matches and lighters, and heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and radiators. Protect your family by making your home safer by: • Checking for potential fire dangers before a fire starts • Installing smoke alarms in every sleeping area and on every level of your home • Keeping matches, lighters and gasoline locked away and out of children’s reach
continued from page 7
• Keeping children away from cooking and heating appliances • Turning off all cooking and heating appliances after use • Putting out cigarettes before leaving home or going to sleep • Not overloading electrical outlets • Replacing old, worn out electrical cords • Testing smoke alarms once a month and changing the batteries at least once a year Take the time to discuss what your family should do in case of a fire. • Plan and practice at least two escape routes out of every room of the home. • Agree on an outside meeting place.
Teach your kids to: • Crawl low under smoke, feel doors before opening them in case there is fire behind them and go quickly to the nearest exit. • Stop, drop and roll on the floor if your clothing catches fire. Do not run! • Call the fire department or 911 from a neighbor’s house. • Tell a fire fighter if someone is missing. Never return to a burning building. Information adapted from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign
Improve your child’s reading skills and understanding If you need to improve your child’s reading skills, here are some suggestions to help your child understand more of what he or she is reading. Have your child first think about the subject he or she is going to read about. Ask your child what they know about the subject and what they want to learn about the subject. Have your child skim over the section he or she is going to read. Ask your child if they saw anything familiar and anything new.
After your child has read, ask your child what he or she had learned about the subject. Ask your child about their overall thoughts or impressions of what was read. Have your child recall to you what they have just read. As your child reads, have your child stop often and put into his or her own words what was just read. At the end of each section or chapter, have your child recall or review the main idea.
Reading with your child every day is a good way to teach them to enjoy books.
Preparing your baby to learn to read It is important for parents to start teaching and encouraging their children to read before they enter school. Children as young as six months can begin to enjoy books. Here are some suggestions on how parents can help their children understand language and begin to make connections between words and meanings.
Birth to one year of age • Play with your baby by telling them rhymes, talking to them and singing to them. This helps your baby learn spoken language. • Look at picture books with your baby. Point and name the objects that the baby sees, such as “Look at the puppy” or “See the baby!”
• Give your baby soft or board books. One to three years of age • Tell rhymes, talk, sing and play with your child. • Read to your child every day. • Let your child read to you by naming or pointing to the objects in the book or making up a story.
MARCH 7 – 13, 2010 | DEFENDER
continued from page 1 ference with United Nations officials involved in leading the emergency and humanitarian response in Haiti. According to a release that followed the conference, they assessed the relief operations, highlighted unmet needs - particularly in areas outside of Port-auPrince and in advance of the rainy season - and encourage closer coordination with the Government of Haiti and with each other. It’s not just the weather, but conditions potentially caused by the weather that’s concerning the citizens and relief workers. Those conditions could mean the spread of disease, human waste and even human bodies, many of which did not receive proper burial in the initial aftermath of the earthquake. Nearly 200,000 were killed. Meanwhile, life in the capitol continues to struggle for normalcy. After you get beyond the fact that Haiti, particularly Port-au-Prince, is a modern day ruin— which is not easy when around each new corner is a more devastating scene—there is the amazing vitality, ingenuity and creativity of the Haitian people. This ability, this undying resilience, was evident from one end of the city to another during a whirlwind visit to the city by a team of Black journalists in mid February. Here and there were welders, their torches melding torn metal; masons mending broken walls; carpenters repairing doors and roof tops; painters putting a fresh gloss on ravaged buildings; and the countless vendors setting up shop in front of totally damaged structures. And exactly one month after the catastrophe, the spirit of recovery was seen in the hundreds of people walking along the streets and roads, many of them dressed in white, on their way to various sites of mourning, ready to remember the dead and dying as they celebrate another day of living. “We are determined to put our homes and our lives back together,” said a young man, who stood with his mother and father outside a tent where bricks provided a makeshift foundation. “Our home was completely destroyed, so this will have to do until we can do better.” Even for this reporter, who visited Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and stood as an eyewitness to the collapse of the World Trade Center, spending four days traveling with a delegation of African-American media representatives amid the rubble of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding neighborhoods is to experience a tragedy of almost incomparable proportions. It was mindboggling to see the President’s Palace, an architectural wonder, its twin domes crushing the
floors below; the beautiful National Cathedral where President Rene Preval was inaugurated in 2006 with only the historic statues as a reminder of its splendor; and all of the city’s municipal buildings in silent piles of dusty cement with rods of steel protruding like rusty fingers. Immediately the question becomes why some buildings remain standing while others crumbled in the 7.0 magnitude earthquake? “Many of the buildings that collapsed were built without consideration of the building codes,” said Delatour, Haiti’s Minister of Tourism, a trained architect who studied at Howard University and is leading the recovery effort. Fortunately, thousands of lives were spared because people weren’t at home and asleep when the earthquake rattled the land at 4:53p.m. on January 12. One concern for Haitian construction companies is how to build a home or an office building capable of withstanding an earthquake and, at the same time, hurricanes, which most of the current buildings that fell were constructed to endure. It will take several years and $3 billion to complete the recovery, Delatour speculated, “Though it could be much more because it’s hard to factor in everything at the moment,” he added. Meanwhile, it is estimated that some three million Haitians are homeless or dwelling in tents and other makeshift quarters, often waiting desperately for decent shelter, food, and medical attention. Nothing was more depressing than to see the long line of injured people outside one of the city’s few functioning hospitals, where emergency rescue units have set up tents to provide additional space for the injured. Food and water distribution remain troubling challenges to the various organizations although it has helped somewhat that women are now given coupons to pick up such foodstuff as 50 pound bags of Haitian rice, which they balance on their heads as if it were a pillow. At other points, the distribution is not so orderly and the crush of people, a veritable stampede, swarming to catch packages of protein snacks tossed from trucks, present a great danger to the weak, aged and disabled. When it comes to shelter, the distribution of food and water, and tending to the medical needs of the people, Carlene Dei, head of the USAID mission, said great strides had been made, “but there is still so much more to be done.” NNPA News Service Editor-in-Chief Hazel Trice Edney contributed to this story.
Roberts. Jackson Lee has served in the U.S. continued from page 1 House of Representatives since 1994. Before then, she served two terms on to avoid a runoff even though nearly one Houston City Council and as a municiin five voters cast ballots for the third pal court judge. candidate - Debra Medina, a GOP party Johnson, a graduate of Texas Southern activist who has strong libertarian lean- University, has served on City Council ings and supporters in the tea party since 2005 and is the chairman of the movement. Human Services and Technology Access Perry’s victory will pit him against Committee. former Houston Other noteworMayor Bill White, a thy races include calm consensusthe contentious builder, in the State Rep. District November general 146 race. election. White easily Democratic incumGovernor (Republican) defeated six opponents bent Al Edwards Rick Perry (I) 51.1% to win his party’s nomlost his seat to Kay Bailey Hutchison 30.3% ination. His biggest Borris Miles by a Debra Medina 18.6% challenger, millionaire mere 11 votes. businessman, Farouk Governor (Democrat) Edwards had Shami only garnered Bill White 76.1% served the district 17 percent of the vote. Farouk Shami 12.8% for several years White beat Shami and until Miles beat State Rep., District 146 five others with 76 him out in 2006. In Borris Miles 50.1% percent of the vote. 2008, Edwards Al Edwards (I) 49.9% White, in his measreclaimed his posiured and deliberate U.S. House District 18 tion and ousted style, saluted the two (Democrat) Miles, who was Republicans who chalSheila Jackson Lee (I) 67.0% facing charges of lenged Perry for the Jarvis Johnson 28.3% brandishing a gun GOP nomination, saySean Roberts 4.7 % during his bid to ing that he admires Fort Bend, JP Pct. 2 seek re-election. their courage for takJoel Clouser (I) 55.6% Miles was acquiting on a “career politiTony Sherman 44.4% ted on those cian” who knows charges last year. State House District 27 every “trick in the In Fort Bend, Dora Olivo (I) 42.4% book.” two other closely Ron Reynolds 57.6% Many believe that watched races White, a lawyer and were those for Fort businessman with money to spend on an Bend Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2 and expensive race, represents the State House, District 27. Joel Clouser, Democrats’ best hope in years at win- held onto to his JP seat with nearly 56 ning the governorship. percent of the vote. He was being chalDemocrats haven’t won a statewide lenged by Tony Sherman, who received office since 1994, when George W. Bush 44 percent of the votes. Incumbent Dora was elected governor and the Olivo lost her seat in the State House, Republicans started their Texas takeover. District 27 seat to attorney and Missouri Another closely watched race was the City NAACP president Ron Reynolds. democratic primary for the 18th Despite what some called extreme negaCongressional District. Incumbent tive campaigning by Olivo’s camp, Sheila Jackson Lee also coasted to a vic- Reynolds won solidly (58 to 42 percent). tory with 70 percent of the votes. The Associated Press contributed to this Jackson Lee was facing competition from Houston City Council member report. Jarvis Johnson and attorney Sean
March 2010 Primary Results
DO THE RIGHT THING……Houston Community College chose award-winning director, actor, writer, producer and author, Spike Lee’s movie title, “Do the Right Thing” as their theme for the 2010 Black History Gala. By doing the right thing in supporting scholarships, a lot of money was raised that will ensure educational opportunities for the future of our young people. Spike Lee was also the keynote speaker at the gala and delighted the audience with his savvy storytelling style and extensive knowledge in film making. The Joyce M Reynolds Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the CEO and Publisher of the Defender Media Group Sonceria (Sonny) Messiah Jiles and her husband Jodie L. Jiles, who currently serves as Managing Director of RBC Capital Markets Corporation. The success of the event could be seen on the smiling faces of Chancellor Dr. Mary Spangler, President of HCC Central Campus Dr. William Harmon, HCC Trustees and gala chairs, Bruce Austin, Christopher Oliver and Dr. Michael P. Williams. Some of the gala attendees included Dr. Samuel Smith, Controller Ronald Green, Judge Hilary Green, Judge Vanessa Gilmore, Council Member Wanda Adams, Valencia and Kenneth Linton, John Guess Jr., Valarie Oliver, Rosemary and Dr. Art Tyler, Donna Williams, Derrick Mitchell, Debbie Dillard, Margaret Samuel, Susan and Sam Guess, Attorney Jarvis Hollingsworth, Dr. Kenneth Holden, Marcus Robinson, Gloria Walker, Bryce Kennard, June Deadrick, Stefani Farris and paparazzi John Gilmore and Vicky Pink, to name a few. Melanie Lawson and Khambrel Marshall served and Masters of Ceremonies and Yvonne Washington and The Mix provided the entertainment. Great event and continued success!........EMPOWERING VISSIONARIES……..That’s exactly what the National Black MBA-Houston Chapter is doing and by 2012, the chapter will be the premier business organization serving Black professionals. They recently celebrated their 13th Annual Leadership Empowerment Scholarship and Awards Banquet at The Power Center. This year’s keynote speaker featured Editor in Chief Emeritus of Essence and Founder/CEO of National CARES Mentoring Movement, Susan L. Taylor. Honorees in the following categories included Gene Norman, Journalism, Pastor O. E. Ledet, Community, Dr. Raymond Johnson, Education, Thomas Jones, Jr., Corporate, George Johnson, Entrepreneur, Debra Johnson, Law/Government, Dr. Alvia J. Wardlaw, Fine Arts, Dr. Theresa Robinson, Science/Medicine and Nia Abdullah, Sports/Media. Several hundred folks attended the event including Chapter President Dr. Wendy Johnson, National Chairman of the Board of Directors William W. Wells, Jr., Dr. Bob Thomas, Rev. Dr. Evelyn Johnson, Austin Tenette, Carl McGowan, Artis Brown and Leaders of Tomorrow students Samia Joyce Fouda and Ivan Butler. Congratulations and continued success to you also!.........LEADING THE WAY……The Houston Wellness Association celebrated Black History Month by honoring outstanding Houston African-Americans who have been pioneers in the field of health and wellness. Founded in 2006 and as a not-for-profit organization, its mission is to advance the health and well-being of our community and the economic vitality of our wellness sector. This year they profiled the following honorees, Dr. Melba Swafford, retired anesthesiologist, Dr. Romanuel Washington, Jr., the first Black chiropractor in Texas, Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr., the first AfricanAmerican to walk in space, Dr. Zeb Poindexter, Jr., the first African-American graduate of The University of Texas Dental Branch of Houston and later became the school’s first African-American faculty member, Karen Jackson, Founder/CEO of Sisters Network, and the Honorable Late Congressman Mickey Leland. We salute all honorees!.......THE STORK CLUB…….The Broussard’s house just extended two feet. Jayden Bernard Broussard was born February 26, 2010 weighing 7 lbs. to the proud parents, Brittney and Jeremy. The next time you see Ms. Chag and wonder why she has this big grin on her face, well, it’s because Jayden is her first great-grandson and her second great-grandchild. Welcome to the world little one. God Bless!....... Have a great week and remember to watch CROSSROADS on Channel 13 Sunday morning with Melanie Lawson for your event covered by Ms. Chag. Also check out our website at defendernetwork.com to view the “Event of the Week.”…..From Chag’s Place to your place, Ciao Darling!
MARCH 7 – 13, 2010 | DEFENDER
Attorney Jarvis Hollingsworth and HCC Chancellor Dr. Mary S. Spangler
Donna and Dr. Michael P. Williams
Jodie Jiles, Spike Lee and Sonceria Messiah-Jiles
HCC Trustee Christopher Oliver and Valarie Oliver
Dr. Kenneth Holden and Judge Vanessa Gilmore
Marcus Robinson, Gloria Walker and Dr. William W. Harmon
Dr. Wendy Johnson and Honoree George Johnson
Honorees Nia Abdallah, Dr. Raymond Johnson and Dr. Alvia Wardlaw
Honorees Pastor O. D. Ledet, Debra Johnson and Dr. Theresa Robinson
Dr. Wendy Johnson and Honoree Gene Norman
Priscilla Gray, Paul Charles, Susan Taylor and Dr. Wendy Johnson
Dr. Wendy Johnson and Honoree Thomas Jones
Honoree Dr. Bernard Harris, Cynthia Nickerson and Jonathan Lack
Jew Don Boney and Kelly Hodges
HCC Trustee Bruce A. Austin
Henderson Smith, Dr. Romanuel Washington and Cynthia Nickerson
Honorees Dr. Melba Swafford and Dr. Romanuel Washington
Brittney, Jeremy and Baby Jayden Broussard
Ms. Chag and Jayden